Good morning. It’s Tuesday, June 14.
|•||Wildfires are ominous signs for the summer and fall.|
|•||An openly operating psilocybin mushroom store in Oakland.|
|•||And Amazon plans drone delivery service in Central Valley.|
Battalion Chief Mike McClintock briefed residents on the Sheep fire in Wrightwood on Monday.
Robert Gauthier/L.A. Times via Getty Images
A week before the start of summer, at least half a dozen significant wildfires were burning across California on Monday. The largest, named the Sheep fire, erupted over the weekend in the San Gabriel Mountains northeast of Los Angeles and crept disconcertingly close to the mountain town of Wrightwood. More than 300 residents were ordered to flee. Other fires burned along the Grapevine, near the U.S.-Mexico border, and southwest of Red Bluff. L.A. Times | A.P.
California lawmakers on Monday approved a $300 billion budget over objections from Gov. Gavin Newsom because they wanted to meet a deadline that ensures their paychecks. Under a 2010 law, legislators must pass a spending plan by June 15 or forgo their salary. Dan Walters, the political columnist, called the practice a “sham budget.” One major point of disagreement: Newsom wants to tie inflation relief to car ownership. Lawmakers want it to be based on income. S.F. Chronicle | CalMatters
The vandalism in Yosemite National Park was believed to have taken place on May 20.
National Park Service
Vandals spray-painted more than 30 sites across Yosemite National Park last month, officials said on Sunday. Photos posted online showed boulders along the popular Yosemite Falls Trail scrawled with the word “Fresno” and other illegible writings in blue and white paint. The park asked the public for help in identifying suspects. Sacramento Bee | A.P.
Amazon announced Monday that it would introduce its drone delivery service this year in Lockeford, a rural community outside of Stockton. If all goes to plan, Amazon Prime Air will drop off packages in backyards in less than hour. The company chose Lockeford because of its open space and low-density housing, with plans to eventually expand to urban areas like Los Angeles. “If obstacles are identified, our drone will automatically change course to safely avoid them,” the company said. L.A. Times | S.F. Chronicle
William and Angela Johnson rested their hands on their son Andrew Johnson.
Julia Rendleman for The Washington Post via Getty Images
In 2014, an Army veteran named Andrew Johnson was charged with attempted murder and locked up in a Santa Clara County jail. According to Johnson, two strangers — one holding a knife — had accosted him on a street corner and he shot at their legs in self-defense. Offered a lesser sentence if he pleaded to guilty, he refused. “It would take three years — almost half of it in solitary — before Johnson got the chance to testify in his own defense. It would take just two hours for a jury to acquit him.” Washington Post
A popular Bay Area summer camp was canceled days before kids were set to arrive because several workers quit over the presence of two Buddhist swastikas on the grounds. Embedded in the wall of a historic building in 1929, the artistic tiles with lotus and swastika designs were purchased in Asia, where the religious symbol had been used for thousands of years before being hijacked by the Nazis. The camp removed the tiles after complaints, but by then four key employees quit, forcing the closure and leaving about 900 children in limbo. Los Altos Town Crier | SFGATE
Despite growing acceptance of their therapeutic benefits, psychedelic mushrooms remain illegal in the U.S. That hasn’t deterred Dave Hodges, the pastor and founder of Zide Door, an interfaith church in Oakland where he promotes the drug as a sacrament. Zide Door also sells mushrooms over a counter, making it perhaps America’s only openly operating psychedelic mushroom store. Oaklandside did a nice video profile.
Tom Hanks has gradually become an avatar of American goodness, the Times magazine wrote.
Nathan Congleton/NBC via Getty Images
|•||On portraying a bad guy: “I’m not interested in malevolence; I’m interested in motivation.”|
|•||On “back in my day” nostalgia: “That’s such a loathsome argument: ‘Back in my day.’ Those days were [expletive] up! ‘Oh, the ’50s were this carefree time.’ Excuse me, no, they were not.”|
|•||On Twitter: “I’d post something goofy like, ‘Here’s a pair of shoes I saw in the middle of the street,’ and the third comment would be, ‘[Expletive] you, Hanks.’ … I don’t need to do that.”|
In Baja California, a small unit of the state police was formed in 2002 to chase down Americans on the run from law enforcement. Known as the Gringo Hunters, they now catch an average of 13 Americans a month. The reporter Kevin Sieff tagged along with the unit to tell the gripping story of the hunt for Damion Salinas, a 21-year-old accused of killing a man in Fresno. Washington Post
The art critic Christopher Knight visited an exhibition of Carolyn Campagna Kleefeld’s paintings inside the Carolyn Campagna Kleefeld Gallery at the newly renamed Carolyn Campagna Kleefeld Contemporary Art Museum at Cal State Long Beach. It’s not only bad that the artist of the exhibit is a major donor, Knight wrote. “The art is frankly terrible — by far the worst I’ve seen on display in a serious exhibition venue, public or private, for profit or nonprofit, in years.” L.A. Times
The water level at Lake Mead has plummeted.
Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images
The Colorado River, winding 1,450 miles from its genesis in the Rocky Mountains, is the lifeblood of the Southwest, its water diverted to crops and taps in Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, New Mexico, California, Arizona, and Nevada. The river is so overdrawn that its delta in Mexico has largely dried up. Extreme drought is now hastening the drying. The photojournalist Luis Sinco traveled the watershed for a beautiful photo series. L.A. Times
“Why are we stopped? I get it because it’s L.A. But why are we stopped?”
A TikToker’s breakdown of his regular drive from San Diego to Santa Barbara went viral over the weekend. The journey, he said, includes a stretch where no vehicle dips below 85 mph, a construction gantlet where “I think I’m going to die every time,” and places of reliable yet inexplicable gridlock. It is, according to numerous accounts, fairly accurate. @boofney
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